Hub Blog


What an amazing start!

Blog by Dr. Jo North, Technology & Transformation Director, Port of Tyne
22nd November 2019

What a brilliant few months it’s been since we launched the 2050 Innovation Hub with partners in the summer of 2019.

Since then we have held some great events – made great by all the terrific people who participated so generously with their time, collaboration and ideas. We are ready to finish this year on a high, with our BBC TV Dragons’ Den inspired Innovation Live! event on 17th December and take our activities to the next level in 2020.

Our 2050 Innovation Hub demonstrates our commitment to open innovation, for the greater benefit of the north east region and UK maritime.

Open innovation is an approach taken by a business or organisation to access the ideas, technology and knowledge that is available externally, beyond its employees and existing supply chain.

We are collaborating with partners and stakeholders from industry, academia, the public and not-for-profit sectors to develop solutions to the technological challenges facing the maritime sector and the wider logistics industry both nationally and globally.

These challenges include increasing efficiency, making UK ports more attractive to businesses at home and abroad as well as ensuring the UK continues to lead the way in maritime technology into the future.

The 2050 Innovation Hub is a catalyst for sharing ideas, harnessing research and development, advancing technology and tackling shared challenges. It’s an exciting time because our 2050 Innovation Hub is less than 4 months’ old, and our intention is to harness skills and innovation from all industrial sectors to develop a global proposition and enhance maritime competitiveness, as well as working to attract more young people into the maritime sector.

The 2050 Innovation Hub is fully aligned with the Government’s Maritime 2050 Strategy and will work closely with the Department for Transport and MarRI-UK to ensure that it delivers for the benefit of the maritime sector as a whole.

Together with around 150 participants, through our 2050 Innovation Hub events, we have:

  • Defined the 2050 Innovation Hub vision and priorities and created our first projects and Opportunity Statements.
  • Identified some specific data opportunities and challenges and begun to consider how sharing and using some key data collaboratively can benefit not only our Ports, but also our regional and maritime stakeholders too.
  • Started to advance the current state-of-the-art through automation of different data feeds into user-friendly interfaces, collaboratively shaping our MVP (minimum viable product) outlines for the important operational activities, namely berth optimisation and cargo characterisation.
  • Held the first UK maritime port hackathon today. Developers, coders, tech and maritime industry experts have come together to begin the process of making the MVP outlines a reality. Watch out for my next blog, coming very soon, all about our hackathon!

If you’d like to know more, please do get in touch. And definitely check out our Innovation Live! experience here at the Port of Tyne on 17th December. It’s completely free to attend and will be a fantastic opportunity to learn, network and get inspired to innovate. Hope to see you there!